The Other Shoe Drops (Sequel to "The Chickens Wander Home")
“I’m sorry,” she said. “The determination has been made that the level of care you require doesn’t meet the revised criteria for continuation of your services. You’re being dropped from the program.” There was some rote blather about filing a time-sensitive appeal, but it was obscured by the roaring of blood as my head exploded.
I’ve outlined this situation before, in a previous blog post: “The Chickens Wander Home.” [21 July; below]
Now, the other shoe has dropped, as the old saying goes. (I love platitudes and old sayings!)
After assuring the case worker that I don’t kill the messenger, I made some inquiries about the funding of the programs that have improved the quality of my life for the last six years. As I suspected, they are an adjunct of a federally-funded state assistance program, known in Georgia as PeachCare. My federal benefits had automatically attached me to these programs, and just as bureaucracy expands to fill the space allotted to it, so my parasitism over the years has grown to include complacency.
Keeping my voice under control, I asked the case worker if PeachCare had gone begging because of the recent $26 billion—$26,000,000,000—payoff to state-school teacher’s unions as a quid pro quo for Democrat votes in November. The answer was a reluctant affirmative. The inept and outnumbered Republicans in Congress insisted that any further federal spending be paid for up-front, so the Dems robbed already-funded programs to assure payment on their union bribes. A great deal of this came from federal funds previously allocated to state Medicaid programs, including PeachCare on the home front, and whatever they call themselves in the other 49 states.
When I received my annual review back in July, the case worker warned me that this was coming. She told me of people much worse-off than I am already being denied services because of lack of funding. Basically, according to the new tenets of ObamaCare, anyone who doesn’t require nursing-home-level care is out of luck.
Since the case worker had mentioned special-needs children requiring daily care by home nurses being denied services, I got to thinking about the implications of this. What I came up with sounds like a Zen circle-puzzle.
Say two young parents are raising a special-needs—retarded—child. Most likely, they have a house, and a mortgage, so they’re both working. The kidlet can’t be dumped into day care, because the local day care center can’t afford a special-needs teacher, or the child is too young or too dysfunctional for state schooling, and needs home care on a daily basis from a visiting nurse/CNA.
Suddenly, the state can no longer afford this service, and the home care is discontinued. Depending on who earns less, one of the parents has to quit work, and stay home to care for the child. That halves the family’s income, and possibly reduces their ability to make their mortgage payments. The tax-extortion money from their paychecks is also halved. Because only one parent is working now, they may have to apply for food stamps and other forms of public assistance—including federal mortgage bail-out funds—increasing their burden on the tax liabilities of others. Suddenly, a job is forfeited, and in some small increment, other people are living their lives for the sake of these parents, involuntarily shouldering some of their burden. The parents didn’t want to become wards of the “nanny state”; by working and paying their taxes, they were fueling the government infrastructure that provided care for their special child while they toiled to channel taxes to said government for half the fiscal working year.
Now, take this a step further. Imagine a single mother in the same situation. She quits her job to care for that special child, she’s on welfare, living in public housing, collecting food stamps, and using Medicaid for the child’s—limited—health care requirements.
I ain’t Buddhist, but I appreciate the wisdom of Zen thought.
The current regime’s answer to this conundrum is to magically increase federal spending for the agencies that would supply the services these parents need to continue their working careers. Unfortunately, due to malfeasance, nonfeasance, and misappropriation of funds, the federal nanny state has a reduced revenue base for their social “it takes a village” experimentation. Revenues are down, the credit line is maxed out, and funding has to be cut. Taxes are increased, further reducing the number of jobs, driving revenue down even further. More people become dependent on the nanny state, even as it becomes more dependent on a shrinking number of people who produce the sustenance the state requires for social welfare programs.
The traditional “safety net” has a huge, gaping hole in it, and thousands of people are dropping into oblivion.
I can live without meals-on-wheels; they are a convenient luxury. I can crawl around on the floor and eventually get the sheets changed on my bed, and wrestle my vacuum cleaner into submission so the floor isn’t too dirty while I crawl there. I’ve fallen down my stairs more than once, and only broken a thumb during one bad tumble. The loss of those services that alleviate these inconveniences won’t kill me; as Nietzsche suggested, it will make me stronger.
What angers me is the plight of those I described above. I am blessed, but many are facing despair, and are trapped in the situation I postulated. I am blessed, but many are without hope.
The cycle enslaving them must be broken on 2 November. Your vote counts, and this may be our last chance to reclaim the America we grew up in. It ain’t perfect by a long shot, but it’s the best we've got.